Sunday, July 11, 2010

Judge. Judy.

I just had to use this as a title for a post, for yesterday I was in charge of taking a judge (actually an oficial from the Registro Civil) to a wedding out in wet Telchac where my friend Judy was running a wedding.

I picked the judge up at his home in el centro; actually near his home at the Kukulkan stadium because I got completely lost in several colonias and never found Vergel II, which was where the judge lived. Once in the LawsonMobile, the sky turned an ugly black and the clouds opened up in one thunderous crash, dumping several tons of water on Merida. Driving the periferico took a great deal longer than anticipated and so it was a good thing I had picked up my judge earlier than scheduled for the hour-long trip to the beaches.

On our little journey, we chatted about everything from our favorite Yucatecan foods (mine - queso relleno, his - puchero) to what it is like to be a judge and some of the highlights of his experience in providing the official blessing at civil marriage ceremonies. He mentioned the case of the fainting groom and also the bride that slipped and fell as she walked across a grassy carpet outside towards the table where the ceremony was to be held. I told him he should be making notes for what would surely be a most interesting book.

In Telchac, I left him to perform his duties while I visited friends from Quebec who were staying nearby and who told me about their adventures in the rain.

On the way back I learned a few things about the life of an oficial in the Registro Civil. For example, they are on call 24/7, and not for weddings but in case of things like burials, deaths, and other family related life or death events. And that they are not paid by their employer, the state government, for their wedding protocol events a domicilio. One assumes that they receive a gratification ie tip for their being at someone's home to perform a wedding, but he did not confirm (or deny) this. In any case, they are expected by the government to perform these duties and do not receive any compensation or gas money even, as he pointed out.

His greatest satisfaction, he said, was the ability to help people, especially older folks, who are bewildered by the system (aren't we all) and are trying to sort out their status in the absence of formal records and/or documents from when they were born. A nice fellow, this judge.

All in all, a very interesting afternoon.